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Ingrid Newkirk is an animal rights activist, an author, and the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She is best known for the animal rights awareness[…]

We’re not trying to take away anyone’s rights, says Newkirk.

Question: What the biggest misconceptions of the animal rights movement?


Ingrid Newkirk: I think people are frightened by the animal rights movement sometime in the same way, back in the ‘60s – especially in the office working every day – I would see people who were frightened by the women’s liberation movement. What was it? It was these uppity women who were burning their bras and demanding all sorts of things; where there were going to be restrooms where we would all be there together. You know there’s a lot of fear with something that’s new. And it’s invariably unjustified, because usually when you strive for rights for anybody else – and this happened again with the handicapped; trying to get the handicapped access to buildings, there was an uproar – is that you’re not taking away from the rights of others. You may be taking away from the inconvenient habits of others. But you are only expanding rights. You’re not contracting anything that is vital.

With women’s rights, you might want to pay your secretary less than she deserves, but you shouldn’t. So it might take away your right to pay something you shouldn’t; a lower than you shouldn’t. And with this it might take away your right to eat a Chicken McNugget. But really it’s better for your arteries. It’s better for the world, the earth. And it’s certainly better for animals who are treated so cruelly to eat something that’s not made of that animal’s flesh and blood.


Recorded on: November 12, 2007